It was the kind of loss that could have left another team devastated: Seeing a lead disappear with 1:46 left in the third period, and then losing in triple overtime in Game 1 on the road. But this isn’t the Chicago Blackhawks’ first rodeo. Please remember all the way back to 2013, when the Blackhawks dropped their first road game against the Minnesota Wild, Detroit Red Wings, Los Angeles Kings and Boston Bruins, and ended up winning the Stanley Cup. “We've gone through some stretches where we've lost opening games. We've lost last year all four first games in their buildings and seemed to recover,” said coach Joel Quenneville, via ESPN.com. “That's something we can build on. It's a long series. We expected a tough series against this team. There's going to be no easy games, but it's a good example that going forward we've got to find a way to overcome our opponents." Where can the Hawks improve as they take on the St. Louis Blues in Game 2 on Saturday? Mark Lazerus of the Sun-Times on one of Chicago’s Game 1 regrets: The Hawks’ biggest regret was the power play. After Brent Seabrook scored on the Hawks’ first chance, they came up empty on their last five. The two relatively easy third-period kills seemed to embolden the Blues, who got more aggressive on the forecheck after that, with defensemen regularly pinching in while they chased the tying goal. Meanwhile, coach Joel Quenneville put Michal Rozsival — his third-period security blanket — on the point for those two power plays, and the Hawks essentially ran clock rather than go for the kill. And that’s the other issue for the Blackhawks in Game 1: They tried to play a conservative road game, curating their lead rather than expanding it. From CSN Chicago: Their standard game plan is clearly effective judging by their past results, and they have the personnel to pull it off. Where they struggle is when they deviate from that plan and try to play cautiously, because it takes away the very things that make them great. Their speed and ability to hold onto the puck for long stretches makes it virtually impossible for opponents to score, and if they keep attacking even with a one goal lead, they will be in a much better position to win Game 2 and tie this series up heading back to Chicago. The Blues are expected to be without T.J. Oshie again for Game 2.
A 5-on-3 power play in double overtime of a Stanley Cup Playoff game comes around about as often as a Maple Leafs championship parade float, but the Chicago Blackhawks nearly earned one at the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night. With Ryan Reaves already in the Blues' penalty box for delay of game, the Blues cleared the puck over the glass in their own end while on the penalty kill, for what should have been a delay of game penalty. The on-ice officials mulled it over. The players waited around. The refs eventually ruled that the Blues shouldn’t be penalized. And Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville disagreed … ahem, quite emphatically. Yes, he was truly honkin’ mad. That was some Travolta quality disco pointing from Coach Q before his stickhandling exhibition. Must be the mustache. No doubt the NHL will have something to say about Quenneville’s handful ending up on national television. And we’re pretty sure we know what his response will be …
|Puck Daddy||Chicagoin 7||Great, gritty battle between two teams loaded with big names and quality grunts. The Hossa Hex ends, much to our chagrin.|
|Sam McCaig||Chicagoin 6||Chicago's depth, skill and speed will prove to be too much for Philadelphia to overcome, and the 'Hawks can keep pace physically with the Flyers.|
|Ross McKeon||Chicagoin 6||The 'Hawks are poised to win their first Cup since 1961, but if we’ve learned anything from these playoffs it’s to expect the unexpected.|
|Matt Romig||Chicagoin 6||Give the 'Hawks the edge in skill, speed and special teams. Philly brings enough intangibles to extend an otherwise one-sided series.|